At 3 a.m. on June 17, 2019, an office building not far from the Las Vegas Strip caught fire and burned down. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident, but the fire department faced some interesting challenges. Because of the magnitude of the fire, over 100 firefighters were needed to put out the flames and the building required overnight watch.
The building was an oval shape-- something the first responders did not know until they were on the scene. The nature of the building posed a struggle for firefighters who were trying to get ahead of the flames. The most alarming challenge for the firefighters, however, was the fact that the building had no automatic sprinklers. While the building was up to the International Building Code, all of the information first responders learned on the scene could have been brought to their attention earlier.
How to Better Prepare First Responders
When first responders arrive at the scene of an emergency, they often try to find the most effective way into the building. A place that has multiple floors and various companies, like a commercial building, can be difficult for first responders to reach the right area in a timely manner.
Four things that can better prepare a company and first responders include:
- Labeling entrances and loading docks with numbers or letters. This allows for 9-1-1 callers to direct first responders closer to the incident.
- Working with the fire departments and building inspectors to make sure the commercial space is up to code. In the case of the Las Vegas building, the 1980 building code did not require the commercial building to have automatic sprinklers. However, having more fire extinguishers and being more or equally prepared as new buildings could have made an impact.
- Having clear signage inside the building. Directions and arrows to items like fire hoses, extinguishers, AED devices, exits, and more can help firefighters move quickly throughout a space.
- Creating a Facility Profile. Loading virtual information about a building and including information like floor plans, campus boundaries, and access points can prepare first responders on the way to an emergency.
It is good practice to have more than one plan in place for commercial building emergencies.
What a Corporate Facility Profile Provides to First Responders
There is a lot of information in a commercial building that first responders could have access to in case of an emergency. Pertinent information can be included in a facility profile, such as:
- Access points and necessary entry codes
- The location of fire extinguishers and AEDs
- The locations and codes for alarms
- How to remotely access CCTV footage
- Emergency contact information (especially for key holders, administrators, and security personnel)
- Landline phone numbers and their location within buildings and rooms
- Utility information and shutoff locations for buildings
A facility profile displays automatically when the caller’s landline ANI matches a registered telephone number in the account, or when the Phase II wireless location in the ALI overlaps the geo-fenced footprint of an account. Call takers and first responders can also search for a facility if information is needed during an incident without a 9-1-1 call such as a business check, suspect search or fire.
Medical emergencies, fires, and active shooter incidents can all be prepared for in advance with a corporate facility profile. Rave Facility has improved the speed and efficiency of emergency response by providing evacuation routes and hydrant locations during a fire, AED locations during a medical emergency, and floor plans in the event of an active shooter.
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